Some people may fear the strain of everyday life is ageing them prematurely. But in good news for those wanting to turn back the hands of time, becoming less stressed can reduce your biological age in just a few days, a study suggests.
While chronological age is the number of years you’ve been alive, biological age refers to how old your cells and tissues are based on their current condition.
If you’re especially healthy and fit, your biological age may well be lower than your chronological age.
But if you’re sedentary, chronically ill or in poor physical condition, your biological age may be higher — meaning you’re more likely to be at higher risk of disease and live a shorter life.
Becoming less stressed can reduce your biological age in just a few days, a study suggests (stock image)
It has already been documented that our biological age rapidly increases in response to stress.
But new research indicates this damage can be reversed over just a few days or months of feeling more relaxed.
Dr Vadim Gladyshev, from Harvard Medical School, is part of a team that wanted to investigate how biological age can be changed.
‘Despite the widespread acknowledgment that biological age is at least someone malleable, the extent to which biological age undergoes reversible changes throughout life and the events that trigger such changes remain unknown,’ he said.
His team, along with scientists from Duke University School of Medicine, measured changes in biological age in humans and mice in response to various stressful situations.
Real-life scenarios that could cause this kind of stress include major surgery, pregnancy or severe illness.
While the biological age rose relatively quickly in response to stress, it also lowered back to baseline following recovery from the stressful event.
Writing in the journal Cell Metabolism, the researchers said: ‘This study reveals that the biological age of humans and mice is not static nor steadily increasing, but undergoes reversible changes over relatively short time periods of days to months.
‘A clear pattern that emerged over the course of our studies is that exposure to stress increased biological age.
‘When the stress was relieved, biological age could be fully or partially restored.
‘In the most fundamental sense, our data revealed the dynamic nature of biological age – stress can trigger a rapid increase in biological age, which can be reversed.’
A separate study recently showed that cutting calories can help reduce the pace at which people age biologically.
People who cut their calorie intake by 25 percent over two years aged two to three percent more slowly than people who continued to eat normally.
This is linked to a 10 to 15 percent lower risk of early death, the researchers said – around the same amount seen in studies where people gave up smoking.
From TAPPING your face to swimming in cold water: The weirdest stress-relieving tactics, according to experts
Squeezing a stress ball might be the most conventional way of battling stress.
But if you are looking for something a little different, you could try pretending your belly is a balloon.
Experts also believe submerging yourself in cold water or giving your dog a tight cuddle could help.
Here, DailyMail.com explains the method behind the madness and reveals some of the stranger ways of tackling stress.
Imagine there is a BALLOON in your stomach
It’s natural to feel short of breath when you’re stressed.
Your breathing muscles, including your diaphragm, become tense when you are feeling the heat.
This can cause some to feel they can’t breathe naturally, making them inhale quicker.
Simple breathing exercises can give you relief within minutes.
They work by getting your breathing back under control, allowing a steady flow of oxygen into your lungs.